Family portraits, those picture perfect memories, the one central message radiating from the framed image: we are normal, we are unified, we are a family. Families are complicated and messy, filled with flaws and intricacies and little moments which become difficult to discard over the years. When we think of what we inherit, we might think of our features, we might even think of the hand-me-downs across generations, or within the immediate family of our siblings or cousins. We recognise that our family has a great impact on our lives, past present and future. Whether it’s the nature or nurture debate, either a family or key guardian is often there, impacting our lives in ways which we cannot understand until we are older.
Along with physical attributes, we inherit psychology. Be it through nature or nurture, we inherit psychological tendencies toward a specific way of thinking which we carry with us into our futures. All of this may not even become obvious to us until we are in intimate environments with partners or close friends in later life. By this point, our ways of thinking are so ingrained that they are normal to us, and we don’t much care to analyse them.
We go through life with little anxieties, preconceptions, and biases which we don’t notice unless prompted to. We forget that our mother once warned us about falling from a height, and since that time we have been afraid of tall buildings; we forget that we watched our sibling’s dislike of strawberries and subsequently stopped eating them. We become someone who doesn’t like heights, or strawberries- perhaps we develop severe fears or phobias. If we reach a point where we try to resolve them, it can be difficult to find the source.
We inherit habits, too. We may believe that everyone does these little things, has these same intricacies in their lives too, when, often, they are familial constructs. These constructs have the capacity to impact us in both, positive and negative ways.
So, why is it important to recognise what we’ve inherited?
It’s the first step in developing a greater level of self-awareness, of working through habits and mindsets which impact our lives in a negative way, and ultimately working towards having a more positive view on our future.
What doors might be opened if you recognised that you don’t have to take your inheritance with you? What positives might you find that you can build on to further your success in self-development?
Featured image: Kalden Swart via Unsplash.